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NME to launch hi-def DVD on $150 red laser players

New Medium Enterprises (NME) and its strategic partner Beijing E-World Technology (E-World) will announce the commercial launch of their red laser High Definition standard at CeBIT this week. This marks the world’s first HD (1920x1080 resolution) optical disc solution using existing red laser technology and its current industrial infrastructure.

NME will unveil Versatile Multilayer Discs (VMDs) with pre-recorded HD content and varying storage capacities up to 40GB, which will be demonstrated on red laser players using E-World’s HD EVD technology. Several feature-length films in 1920/1080 HD format will be shown on one side of a single VMD disc in players retailing at $150.

The VMD technology of NME provides the capability to store up to 20 layers of content on one side of a disc about the same size and thickness as a DVD, increasing capacity from circa 5GB on a DVD to 5GB per layer of a VMD, up to a capacity of 100GB.

Combining this with E-World’s HD playback technology enables HD viewing of pre-recorded video content on enhanced red laser players. The company says this represents a very attractive solution for manufacturers of players who, for minimal additional re-tooling costs, can upgrade their drives for greater capacity and deliver low-cost HD viewing to the consumer.

The EVD red laser disc players are fully backward compatible to all existing red laser (CD, DVD, etc.) formats, while the VMD discs can easily be adapted to blue laser technology when and as the cost of blue laser and associated manufacturing processes become commercially viable and affordable.

NME has to date signed content agreements in India, China, Russia and South America. Its strategic partner in India, Eros Group, has rights over a catalogue of some 2,600 Bollywood movies, approximately 50 of which will be available in VMD format by the end of this year. Pre-recorded VMD discs will retail at close to DVD prices. By providing consumers with a high quality, low-cost solution, NME expects to see rapid adoption of VMD in these and other markets.

At CeBIT, NME and E-World will be demonstrating a stand-alone player retailing around $150 and two bundled packages for HD viewing: a home cinema package made up of an EVD player with VMD technology which, combined with a 42-inch HD LCD screen will retail for around $3,000 (the same package with a 37-inch HD LCD screen will sell for around $2,000); and a digital public theatre package playing VMD pre-recorded discs comprising an EVD HD player, a JVC HD projector and top of the range surround sound for around $30,000. These will all be displayed in Hall 1, Stand L81 where orders for products can be placed for third quarter delivery.

Story filed 05.03.06

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